His defiance saw him hold out until there were 3km remaining, but the sprinters were not to be denied and FDJ, Bahrain-Merida, Cofidis, Direct Energie and Katusha-Alpecin were all in the mix for their respective fast men.
Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) was among the freelancers up the road too, and was third wheel as Katusha-Alpecin dropped Kristoff at the front and the sprint opened up.
But neither he nor Kristoff had any answer when Demare kicked, and came hurtling down the outside with Bouhanni – who had been on his wheel – also unable to respond.
The Frenchman powered on, finishing with a huge gap on his sprinting rivals to send an ominous message to his sprinting rivals ahead of the Tour de France.
Tour de France 2017: stage two – result
1) Arnaud Demare (FRA) – FDJ – 4.13.53hrs
2) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha-Alpecin – ST
3) Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) – Cofidis
4) Sonny Colbrelli (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida
5) Phil Bauhaus (GER) – Team Sunweb
6) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Dimension Data
7) Ben Swift (GBR) – UAE Team Emirates
8) Pascal Ackermann (GER) – Bora-hansgrohe
9) Alberto Bettiol (ITA) – Cannondale-Drapac
10) Bryan Coquard (FRA) – Direct Energie
1) Thomas de Gendt (BEL) – Lotto-Soudal – 8.30.47hrs
2) Axel Domont (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +48”
3) Diego Ulissi (ITA) – UAE Team Emirates +1.03
4) Pierre Latour (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +1.07
5) Emanuel Buchmann (GER) – Bora-hansgrohe – ST
6) Sonny Colbrelli (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida +1.09
7) Ben Swift (GBR) – UAE Team Emirates – ST
8) Alberto Bettiol (ITA) – Cannondale-Drapac
9) Tony Gallopin (FRA) – Lotto-Soudal
10) Julien Simon (FRA) – Cofidis